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    • I'm shooting engagement photos on Saturday for a super fun, creative couple. I usually ask what they love and these two like the outdoors and dancing.

      I usually try to weave what they love, who they are, what they do, and what they dream of into a photo to tell their story. For example, Adrian and Colton lived on an old ranch and liked to hunt with their dog and drive around in their pickup. So I shot this photo of them (a piece of the ranch house is in the right).

      Has anyone seen creative engagement photos that made you smile? Ideas?

    • Btw, the groom will be PrimeTime, who isn't afraid of dressing as Psy for Halloween and jumping up on the tables at lunch to dance. Have a real opportunity here to be creative.

    • Sounds like a blast. Don't ask me why but the scene from Dirty Dancing just came to mind where she jumps up and he flies her over his head - but outside. :)

      I don't really do a lot of that type of work but the whole dancing outdoors thing sounds fun!

    • It seems like people are either too serious or even too cheesy in nearly every engagement photo. I wonder how you could incorporate humor into the images while still making it feel authentic. A hard, creative problem to solve, but if Craig is willing to dance Gangnam style in front of an audience, I bet he'd be a good, cooperating subject.

    • And that's why I always got sick after spending time at SmugMug HQ. Shoes off the table, Craig!


    • My first thought was a silhouette shot of them dancing. What style of dancing do they enjoy? Have them dress to the nines (not to the point of being cheesy, but if they want to really have fun with this, they should go all-out).

    • Somehow this image of Meghan dancing with kids came to me and I thought hmmm, maybe Craig and Angela in their own worlds, facing each other, dancing. They know a place outdoors in front of a big graffiti-sprayed rock they think looks cool.

    • I actually didn't get a chance to know this couple very well before we met.... nor did they explain these were ENGAGEMENT photos. (On the phone they said they just wanted couple shots.)
      Despite struggling with the wind, once we got rolling they explained they wanted something that was "magical" looking. I used the wind and some peaking sun to create that magical effect.
      This shot makes me smile because they were just so in love and just so sweet to work with.

    • Oh, that’s a good idea. Thank you. We were speaking yesterday about taking their shots high in the Santa Cruz Mountains overlooking the ocean as the sun sets and I was afraid they would be silhouetted. I dunno why but I didn’t think of them dancing there and the silhouette being cool.

      They are good at dressing t the nines, good idea.

    • There are a few great spots that have rolling hills and the ocean (if clouds aren't covering it) at Russian Ridge just off the Skyline. I know a few beautiful spots there such as this one.

    • Another great spot is just a couple of miles away from the Wilder Ranch and it has amazing views of the ocean cliffs and sandy beaches. Very private spot as you'll need to do a mile walk to it, but it is worth every step getting there.

    • Adrian Rose Vanderhoof

      I love our engagement photos so much!!!! They are much more meaningful than other photos we have of our lives because you captured who we were at that phase in our life. I always try to capture what is happening in our lives in our photos now. Thank you a million times over 🧡

      For this couple: I have a few ideas. What about a dancing Milky Way shoot?!? I know the location and shooting in middle of the night can be annoying but I think it would be SO worth it.

      Maybe some romantic dance moves in the wild waves of the ocean. She could wear a long dress that adds drama in the water and he could wear a white shirt that shows off his muscles.

      Or even dancing in the middle of tall grass (or over cool tile work). You could be up on a tall ladder (or a floor above them) and shoot down at them so her hair flips, dress swirls, and their smiling upturned faces are well lit.

      Another idea close to the ocean one is having them dance in a water fountain. You could start at sunset, then shoot until it’s dark and use some strobe lights from behind to capture the motion and drama in the water.

      😁 is it obvious I enjoy drama in my photos? Haha! I’m excited to see how your photos turn out! You are so fun to shoot with. They are going to have a blast.

    • My daughters, nieces, and daughters-in-law have all wanted their engagement pictures to be totally enchanting—they wanted to look head-over-heels in love with their guy, but also wanted to look absolutely stunning themselves. They were more interested in the mood of the pictures than in the actual setting and/or wardrobe per se (they didn’t want the clothes or the location to detract from the mood), so maybe ask the couple what mood they want you to capture—that might help you with ideas?

    • The town I work in is full of these abandoned houses and motels. They look absolutely haunted. I want to do family zombie photos for Halloween. Kinda like Christmas card photos, but better.

    • My friends got engaged at the same place they had their first date: on a cliff in Santa Cruz facing the ocean. They found a rock engraved with their initials but didn’t say anything until they were dating for a while. When he brought her back to the same spot, the proposal was a surprise and I was nearby to photograph. This photo didn’t capture the exact moment of the proposal, but it’s my favorite of the set. It’s not cheesy, it’s not too serious, and the ocean backdrop is a wonderful picture of the big journey they’re about to take together.

    • A few months ago I got to shoot the engagement shots of a couple by hiding in the bushes and using a very long lens. Nikhil surprised her by taking her to where they met on the Stanford campus.

    • What she didn't know was their families were waiting inside a cafe with big windows. This is her expression (and his) when she found out. Good thing she said yes.

    • Welcome to Cake, Reid!

      I love the depth of field in this shot. Not too much, not too little. It makes them stand out from the Ocean just enough without removing them from the setting 👌

    • I haven't had time to look at the shots other to import them to make them safe. But I caught this one as it flew by to check out the light we got at the top of the hills at sunset, and it looked pretty good, no? I was afraid we'd be fogged in.

    • Not your traditional stale engagement pose! Love it! And that lighting: perfect hair light you have there in your studio 🤪

    • Oh geez! <embaressing>

      I would say they are a pretty youthful and cool couple. (And I have also seen them out on the town clubbing). I wonder if you could get into one of their favorite haunts during non-business hours and do a more moody styliaze vibe out on the dance floor with club lights and some interesting lighting effects like a geled back light?